Desire, possession, and jealousy

I finished Sodom and Gomorrah this afternoon. I have again succumbed to the cadence of Proust’s long sentences and paragraphs. I am also smitten again by how his detailed observations quickly translate into propositions whose truth must be investigated or absorbed.

The novel ends with the narrator declaring to his mother that he simply must marry Albertine. What he does not say to his mother is that he suspects her of having female lovers and his jealousy forces him to marry her. I understand the strength of the desire to possess someone completely and absolutely. I have never meditated much upon whether possessive desire is a form of jealousy: do I want this woman so that no one else may have her? How does one separate what seems a natural desire to own the affection of another without it becoming a poisonous jealousy? I am seeing Othello Wednesday night, which will give further opportunity for reflection in the following days. I also started rereading Spinoza’s Ethics today, which I hope will aid my understanding.

I wonder if I was not in love if I would care or appreciate the strange dance between desire and jealousy at this point in my life. My meditative thoughts these days do indeed seem to be a slave to my passions. Then there is the question of being a good person regardless of one’s love, possessive desires, and jealousy. At the end of it all we will be judged good or bad despite our emotions.

Published in: on March 17, 2008 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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